Gilas Pilipinas fell short of a winning debut in the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan as Egypt held their ground for a convincing 73-60 win on Monday, July 26.
Ange Kouame led the opening loss with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double, while fellow big man Isaac Go also tallied 13 markers in just 13 minutes off the bench.
Dwight Ramos flexed his usual all-around game with 9 points, 5 assists, 4 boards, and 1 block, but shot only 4-of-11 as the entire team limped to a 35% clip, 23-of-64.
Go gave life to Gilas’ lackluster offense in the payoff period, where he fired off 5 straight points to turn an 11-point deficit to just 6, 58-64, at the 3:07 mark.
However, the Egyptians stopped the Filipinos' comeback effort dead in its tracks with an 8-0 finishing kick, capped by an Ali Ahmad dagger triple, his only points of the game, with just 52 ticks left.
Amro Mohammad Abd Alhalem led the win with 14 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds in just 21 minutes off the bench, while Omar Saeed Arabei chipped in 11 markers in a quick 13-minute appearance.
Three-point shooting spelled the difference in what was otherwise a balanced outing stats-wise. The Egyptians hit 36% from three for a 9-of-25 clip, while the Filipinos limped to just 14%, 4-of-27.
Gilas will get virtually no rest in this week-long pocket tournament as it next faces Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, July 27, 6 pm, in the second of five straight games before the knockout semifinals kick off on Saturday, July 31.
Egypt 73 – Alhalem 14, Arabei 11, Kamal 9, Hussin 6, Saleh 6, Shehata 6, Khlaf 6, Shosha 6, Ahmad 3, Elmekawy 2, Bakhet 2, Abdellatif 1, Abdelgawad 1.
Gilas Pilipinas 60 – Kouame 13, Go 13, Ramos 9, Ravena 8, Belangel 6, Baltazar 4, Heading 3, Ildefonso 3, Navarro 1, Ma. Nieto 0, Chiu 0, Tamayo 0, Abarrientos 0.
Quarters: 13-12, 33-24, 55-43, 73-60.